I have been reluctant to write this post. I don’t want to jinx myself. But the impact has been meaningful enough, that I wanted to share it. I have had tinnitus for a long time, and in recent years it has grown louder and more persistent. But since I started meditating regularly, my tinnitus has seemed a little bit better. In fact, a lot better. Is it good luck? A change in the weather? Or is the meditation? I can’t be sure. Here is my story.
I have been practicing yoga for many years — Bikram yoga in particular. I even write a blog about it which you can read here if you are interested. I love yoga because it is a quiet exercise — no booming music in the background to drown out the teacher’s voice. And Bikram yoga uses the same sequence of postures each time, so I can always follow along in class, even if the teacher happens to be a mumbler.
My yoga practice is important to me. It strengthens my body to help ward off hearing loss exhaustion, and calms my mind so I can better cope with the frustrations of my hearing loss. But meditation had always eluded me.
I became interested in meditation a few years ago because of its well-known health benefits like improved focus and an enhanced ability to ignore distractions. I thought it might help me in similar ways to my yoga practice, but what I didn’t expect was its profound effect on my tinnitus.
I had tried various types of guided meditation — different smartphone apps mostly — but nothing stuck, until I attended a yoga retreat in August at a beautiful Zen Center. The days were filled with yoga and hiking, but in the early mornings, we had the opportunity to meditate with the monks in residence. Something finally struck a chord.
The meditation was quiet. It was peaceful. There was nothing much to do, other than sit silently in the meditation posture and clear your mind. Easier said than done, but worth the effort. As I became more practiced, I found it to be wonderfully relaxing and eerily silent. When I was meditating, my tinnitus would cease. When I was done, it would return. This remained true as I continued meditating at home after the retreat.
I didn’t give it much thought, until after several weeks of this, I walked into my bedroom one night and it was silent. I literally froze in my tracks. Usually moving from the noisier part of my home into my bedroom makes my tinnitus much more noticeable. But not that day, and much less often since. It’s not perfect, but it is better.
I’m not sure if the meditation is the reason, but just in case, I continue to meditate everyday. Fingers crossed. And my toes too.
Readers, have you tried meditation to cope with your tinnitus?
This article first appeared on LivingWithHearingLoss.com.
Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.